Facilities Bonds Proposed Across The State

September 19, 2012

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The November 6 elections are quickly approaching, and in many areas, voters will be deciding not only the Presidential outcome but also facilities bonds. Several school districts have approved the inclusion of local facilities bonds to both build new facilities and improve existing ones, and some include charter schools.

Here are some highlights:

San Diego Unified School District

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) unanimously approved a $2.8 billion bond measure in July, which includes an equitable share to charter schools. CCSA worked collaboratively with the district to ensure that the bond, known as Proposition Z, included charters, and they stand to receive a pro-rata share of the bond revenues, $350 million, based on enrollment to be used for facility improvements, development of new facilities, technology, and more.

On Tuesday, September 4, 2012, the SDUSD Board of Education approved the formation of a Charter School Community Committee to recommend facilities bond spending for Proposition Z and to recommend policy changes for other charter school facilities issues in the district. This action was an additional step forward to demonstrate SDUSD's commitment to supporting the many needs of charter schools and their students for new facilities space and repairing current facilities.

Sacramento Unified School District

The Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution earlier this summer to place a two bond measures on the ballot. If approved, the funding would be used to upgrade aging schools, including district facilities occupied by charter schools. The Board's vote came as a result of an extensive facility survey and the development of a Sustainable Facilities Master Plan. Measure R, for $68 million in bonds, would improve playgrounds, physical education facilities, remove hazardous materials such as lead paint and asbestos, and modernize kitchen facilities. Measure Q for $336 million in bonds would upgrade and modernize science labs, computer systems, HVAC systems, roofs, walkways and restrooms.

Upgrades from bond funds will benefit all school facilities, including those that are leased by independent charter schools. The bonds do not include funding for building new school sites.

Oakland Unified School District

Despite arduous efforts by CCSA, the Oakland Unified School Board voted in June to place a $475 million bond measure on the November ballot that does not specifically include charter schools. Charter school students in Oakland account for 20% of the public school population, one of the largest percentages statewide. This means that the bond, if approved, would not benefit one in five public school students in Oakland Unified, and that charter school parents--taxpayers also--will be paying for facilities their own children will not enjoy. Read CCSA's Op-Ed on this issue featured in the Oakland Tribune.

Alum Rock Union Elementary School District

The Board of Trustees passed a resolution to place a $125 million bond measure on the November ballot, which includes charters schools. Revenues of this bond would be earmarked to improve and renovate existing schools and updating computer technology. Some funds would be set aside for acquiring, constructing, and repairing facilities. Both CCSA, the SJ Charter Consortium and PACT (People Acting in Community Together) worked collaboratively to ensure charter schools would receive a proportionate share of bond revenue.

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